Sex, lies, theft, arson and racism. What more do you expect from those entrusted to run the State of Texas judiciary. It puts Jeffrey Epstein’s acts in the shadows. Twelve years on, we revisit the Texas Courts and Government and review what went down. In an era where charges are refiled and these criminals are indicted for their past acts, the following lawyers in Texas should be re-arrested for their crimes.
p.s. Woodfill’s law offices were raided last year but it’s gone extremely quiet since, we’d appreciate any update from local journalists familiar with his case.
Politics Trump Justice In Texas Judge Case
Originally Published; Jan. 22, 2008
Arson-related charges against a Texas Supreme Court Justice will be dropped, even though a grand jury indicted him, because the prosecutor handling the case is a friend and political ally of the indicted judge.
Outraged members of the grand jury say politics have clearly trumped justice. The day after the panel indicted the politically connected judge, David Miguel Medina, the county prosecutor in charge of the case dismissed it claiming there was insufficient evidence despite the grand jury’s findings after three months of analyzing information.
It turns out that Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal is Medina’s friend and close political comrade.
The grand jury foreman and assistant foreman say the district attorney tried to prevent the panel from indicting Judge Medina and wanted the case to be swept “under the rug.”
Rosenthal did everything to dissuade the jury from even hearing evidence or reaching any conclusions in the case, the jurors said.
Appointed to the state’s high court by Governor Rick Perry in 2004, Medina was once a Harris County District judge. The charges stem from a fire that his wife was accused of setting last summer. It destroyed the couple’s suburban Houston house and damaged a neighbor’s residence. Medina was charged with evidence tampering in the blaze, which caused about $1 million in damages.
Fire marshal’s found that the fire was intentionally set and a dog detected an accelerant at the scene.
Investigators then discovered that the judge and his wife had serious financial problems, including a mortgage company’s move to foreclose on the burned home. A few years earlier, the county put a lien on the house because the Medinas failed to pay nearly $10,000 in county and school district taxes.
Now that the judge has been cleared of the charges, he will keep his $150,000-a-year job and avoid removal or further investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
As for District Attorney Rosenthal, he was forced off of the ballot for re-election for an unrelated matter.
Last month he got busted for using his official county email account to send pornography, campaign-related files and love notes to his secretary.
Where is Lawyer and previously alleged Arsonist David M. Medina working Today?
Justice David Medina serves as a shareholder in Chamberlain Hrdlicka’s commercial litigation section in both our Houston and San Antonio offices.
Justice Medina received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from South Texas College of Law in 1989 while working full time for Cooper Industries, Inc. and the Traveler’s Insurance Company before that. He was a member of the ABA National Moot Court Team. Justice Medina also earned academic recognition as a member of the Dean’s List.
After graduating from South Texas College of Law, David became the first Cooper attorney hired directly after law school. In his capacity as Counsel for Litigation, David was responsible for a docket that included environmental, product liability, toxic tort, real estate, insurance coverage and commercial litigation. Justice Medina also taught Advanced Civil Trial Advocacy as an Adjunct Professor at South Texas College of Law.
In 1996, Governor George W. Bush appointed David to the 157th State District Court. Justice Medina was elected that November and became the first Republican Hispanic Judge elected in Harris County. He was subsequently re-elected.
Justice Medina rejoined Cooper in 2000 as Associate General Counsel, Litigation. He was responsible for supervising all aspects of complex litigation and product-safety matters throughout the world. During his tenure, Cooper prevailed in every litigation taken to trial or appeal, including a case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In January 2004, Justice Medina returned to public service when he was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to serve as General Counsel to the Governor. Justice Medina had the privilege of serving the Governor until November of that year, when he was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court. In November 2006, Justice Medina was elected to a full term and served Texas until December 31, 2012. He authored over 90 Supreme Court opinions. In addition to his Judicial duties, David served as deputy-liaison to the Texas Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee and the Preservation of Historical Court Records.
Since returning to private practice in January 2013, Justice Medina has successfully represented clients throughout Texas in various trials and appeals. His clients have prevailed in Harris, Montgomery, Galveston, Ft. Bend, Bexar, Hidalgo, Caldwell, Maverick and Travis counties, and the Texas Supreme Court.
- Fellow of the State Bar of Texas
- Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas
- Texas Bar College
- Access to Justice – Defender
- American Bar Association
- Asian American Bar Association of Houston
- Hispanic National Bar Association
- Hispanic Bar Association of Houston
- Houston Bar Association
- Mexican American Bar Association of Texas and Houston
- Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit
Who is District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal and is He a Man of Good Character? Here’s Your Answer
More e-mails emerge in Harris County DA scandal
County GOP says Chuck Rosenthal should resign
Originally Published; Jan. 9, 2008
New e-mails released Tuesday show District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal sent and received racist jokes and strategized with political consultants and colleagues about his re-election campaign on his county e-mail account.
Also within the correspondence obtained Tuesday by the Houston Chronicle were numerous sexually explicit images. It was unclear, however, if Rosenthal ever forwarded those files.
The latest batch of 730 e-mails was met with concern by Harris County GOP leaders, who had already successfully pressured him to abandon his re-election bid.
“It’s time for Chuck Rosenthal to pack his bags and leave,” said county GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill.
Rosenthal declined to comment late Tuesday.
Among e-mails that concerned Woodfill were video clips of nudity and sex acts and a racist joke forwarded by Rosenthal that compares former President Bill Clinton to a black man. The e-mail says Clinton played the saxophone, smoked marijuana and gets a check from the government each month.
Also included within the e-mails is heavy traffic between Rosenthal and Sam Siegler, Rosenthal’s physician and the husband of Kelly Siegler, who is running for district attorney.
In one e-mail from Sam Siegler to Rosenthal, an attached video shows women having their breasts exposed after men forcibly pulled down their blouses in public. The video called the act “sharking.”
Kelly Siegler dismissed her husband’s e-mails.
“He cusses like a sailor and his sense of humor is crude, to put it mildly,” she said. “It’s his computer and what he does at work is his business. He’s the boss.”
She declined to comment on whether Rosenthal should resign but said the revelations wouldn’t affect her campaign.
“I would hope the voters are more concerned about qualifications of their DA than some inappropriate e-mails.”
Siegler threw her hat into the ring after Rosenthal withdrew Jan. 2 from the Republican primary ballot.
Before his withdrawal, the top prosecutor had assured party leaders that no politically embarrassing material would be disclosed other than his intimate e-mails to his executive secretary, said Woodfill and County Judge Ed Emmett . Both, however, said they had strong doubts about that assertion.
Emmett said Tuesday he wanted to withhold judgment about the e-mails until he saw them. He said allegations of racism or explicit images on the county e-mail system were more damaging than possible campaigning at the office.
Emmett’s opponent in the GOP primary said Rosenthal should resign.
“I am asking the people of Harris County to join me in requesting Chuck Rosenthal’s resignation effective immediately,” said Charles Bacarisse. “(He) has lost both the public trust and the moral authority required to serve effectively as district attorney of Harris County.”
As district clerk, Bacarisse headed the staff that processed paperwork in felony courts.
The 860 e-mails are part of a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for a 2001 incident lodged by plaintiff’s attorney Lloyd Kelley.
Rosenthal said 130 were privileged and should not be produced. Those e-mails, filled with affectionate love notes from Rosenthal to executive secretary Kerry Stevens, were mistakenly released by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt.
The release prompted Rosenthal to withdraw from his re-election campaign under pressure from GOP officials.
The remaining 730 e-mails were released after Hoyt said Monday they were not subject to a protective order.
Several officials reached Tuesday speculated that the e-mails could be connected to evidence in criminal cases being prosecuted by Rosenthal.
“I want to become more informed on exactly what the e-mails are,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack. “Then make an educated judgment.”
“I think he probably needs to resign,” said County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat. “We need to hold our public officials to the same standard we hold our employees.”
The commissioners fund the operations of the district attorney’s office.
E-mails about a barbecue fundraiser for Rosenthal’s planned re-election campaign also were sent to his employees, the documents reveal.
It is widely considered illegal in Texas for public officials to campaign during work hours using government-owned equipment. Such instances in the past have led to charges of official misconduct, or theft by a public official.
“I’d like to kick off the 2008 re-election campaign with a barbecue in early October,” Rosenthal wrote to his staff in one e-mail in August, as he announced a planning session for the event. “I appreciate your help, and I am looking forward to seeing you there.”
Another e-mail announced Gail Hays, a captain investigator with the district attorney’s office, would be at the credit union parking garage with barbecue tickets. It was unclear who sent that message. Hays did not appear at the garage because of bad weather, a follow-up e-mail states.
Consulting on campaign
Dated through the middle of last year into the fall, the e-mails also contain campaigning strategies, including several references to the Democratic opponent, former Houston police Chief C.O. Bradford .
An investigator e-mailed Rosenthal in September to notify him of a Bradford fundraiser. In another e-mail Rosenthal writes of Bradford, “My Democratic opponent only managed to set HPD back 100 years.”
Others contained data that could be considered opposition research for political purposes.
Rosenthal, for example, asked his political consultant, Allen Blakemore, about Bradford in a July e-mail:
“I have heard for years that Brad was not a regular officer for very long and that he climbed through the ranks in dispatch. Do you think I need an open records request to get his assignment?”
The e-mails contained exchanges between Rosenthal and employees with the consulting firm that was handling his re-election campaign, including one with a list of Republican precinct chairs, important grass-roots officials.
A follow-up e-mail had a draft copy of a proposed e-mail from Rosenthal’s county account to those precinct chairs, inviting them to his barbecue fund-raiser.
“You do not need a ticket, simply go to the front of the line and let them know your name and that you are on my ‘Friend of Chuck’ List,” it reads.
Rosenthal cites prescription drugs in resignation as DA
Rosenthal cites prescription drugs in decision to quit DA post
Originally Published; Feb. 15, 2008
Chuck Rosenthal stepped down as Harris County district attorney Friday after six weeks of mounting pressure and intense scrutiny brought by the exposure of embarrassing e-mails that prompted calls for his resignation from all but his closest allies.
His announcement came just hours after his political enemy, attorney Lloyd Kelley, filed a lawsuit seeking to remove Rosenthal from office on the grounds of official misconduct, incompetency or intoxication.
Rosenthal’s decision marked a change of heart from his previous vows to finish out the remainder of his term even though he had abandoned his re-election plans because of the e-mail controversy. It was not immediately known Friday how quickly Gov. Rick Perry would appoint an interim replacement to lead the district attorney’s office until Rosenthal’s term expires Dec. 31.
Rosenthal, 62, said a combination of prescription drugs had impaired his judgment, and constant media coverage of his controversial e-mails — which included some sexually explicit and racist content, along with affectionate notes to his executive assistant — had taken its toll on his family.
“Although I have enjoyed excellent medical and pharmacological treatment, I have come to learn that the particular combination of drugs prescribed for me in the past has caused some impairment in my judgment,” Rosenthal wrote in his resignation letter.
“The federal court’s release of my private e-mails around Christmas of last year brought a lot to bear on my wife and children. I have been trying to restore my family as a unit, but the constant media pressure has made that restoration more difficult. I am hopeful that, in my retirement, the media will accord my family the privacy we need to heal.”
Had denied rumors
As recently as 10 days ago, Rosenthal publicly denied having any problems with medication to deal with pain.
At a Feb. 5 meeting with about 20 of his upper echelon administrators, Rosenthal addressed “rumors that he was addicted to painkillers” that he had heard was going around, said Julian Ramirez, a division chief.
Rosenthal said he didn’t even take painkillers, Ramirez said.
Ramirez said most experienced attorneys in the office were sorry to see Rosenthal leave under these circumstances.
“Chuck tried hard to make the office a nicer place to work,” Ramirez said.
Rosenthal, who had worked in the office for 31 years and was elected the county’s top prosecutor in November 2000, declined to comment further beyond his letter after answering the front door of his southwest Houston home Friday evening.
He was virtually assured of running unopposed in the Republican Party primary until six weeks ago, when a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against the county exposed his e-mails, including campaign activities he conducted in his office on county equipment last year.
Rosenthal’s resignation effectively ends an investigation launched by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott last month into whether the district attorney violated state campaign laws.
Rosenthal’s resignation was applauded by county officials and others who had called for him to step down.
County Judge Ed Emmett said he was grateful Rosenthal chose to put Harris County’s interests above his own.
“It is a relief for the county and the district attorney’s office,” said Emmett, who said he was unaware of Rosenthal’s impairment by prescription drugs before Friday.
Rosenthal will technically remain the district attorney until the governor appoints a successor, County Attorney Mike Stafford said. Until then, state law calls for the office’s first assistant — Bert Graham — to take over Rosenthal’s duties.
Rival credits lawsuit
The governor’s office had not received Rosenthal’s resignation letter Friday afternoon and had no immediate plans to name a successor, spokeswoman Krista Piferrer said.
Kelley — who has been criticized for waging a political battle that some believe is prompted by his close friendship with former Houston Police Chief C.O. Bradford, the Democratic nominee for the district attorney’s race this November — said Rosenthal would not have stepped aside if not for the lawsuit seeking his removal.
“It’s a little late, but it’s a good thing,” Kelley said. “No one should be happy about today.”
Rosenthal’s rapid downfall began Nov. 29, when Kelley filed a motion seeking to hold him contempt of court for deleting more than 2,500 e-mails that had been subpoenaed in connection with a federal civil rights lawsuit. Brothers Erik and Sean Ibarra filed the lawsuit against Harris County, claiming sheriff’s deputies wrongfully arrested them and destroyed film in their camera six years ago after one of them photographed a deputy at a drug raid.
E-mails sparked firestorm
On Dec. 22, the federal court presiding over the Ibarras’ lawsuit mistakenly unsealed some of Rosenthal’s e-mails.
Rosenthal’s downslide continued when the federal court convened a hearing two weeks ago to determine if he should be held in contempt for deleting documents that had been subpoenaed. On Feb. 1, he testified that he made some “errors” in previous sworn explanations for why he deleted the e-mails, opening himself to a possible perjury charge.
His contempt hearing is set to resume Feb. 25, but may be delayed while the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reviews whether U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt should be recused from presiding over the Ibarras’ civil lawsuit.
Type of drugs a mystery
Rosenthal might have admitted pharmacological drugs impaired his judgment so he can raise involuntary intoxication as a possible defense if he is charged with perjury, Kelley said.
Involuntary intoxication — such as unawareness that a combination of drugs could have a certain effect — is a fact issue that can be considered by a jury in a perjury case, said attorney Pat McCann, president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association.
“It is a circumstance that could make it difficult to prove you intended to lie,” McCann said.
What prescription drugs Rosenthal was taking — and where he got them — remains a mystery.
But his e-mails indicate he obtained some prescriptions from Sam Siegler, his personal physician and close friend, who is also the husband of Republican district attorney candidate Kelly Siegler.
In one e-mail last July, Rosenthal asked Sam Siegler to call in a prescription for sinus medication for Rosenthal’s executive assistant, Kerry Stevens.
In a follow-up e-mail to Stevens, Rosenthal wrote that he’d spoken with one of Siegler’s nurses. “I didn’t feel good asking her about Ambien. Sam wasn’t there,” Rosenthal wrote. Ambien is a prescription sleeping pill.
Siegler did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
The removal lawsuit that Kelley filed on behalf of Erik Ibarra in state District Judge Martha Hill Jamison’s court Friday did not mention prescription drugs, but alleged Rosenthal consumed alcohol at the office while performing his duties from 2001 to 2007.
The lawsuit did not cite specific instances, and Kelley would not elaborate on what evidence he had to support that claim.
Mounting legal bills
Though Rosenthal may be gone, his legal bills have not stopped. On Tuesday, the Harris County Commissioners Court will consider paying an outside law firm an additional $77,000 to defend him, Graham and Assistant District Attorney Scott Durfee in the Ibarra lawsuit. That would be in addition to $50,000 already approved by the court.
Meanwhile, Kelley said he will go forward with the other part of his removal petition seeking to expel Sheriff Tommy Thomas from office.
The lawsuit accuses Thomas of incompetency and misconduct, alleging he accepted benefits for his ranch from county vendors, failed to investigate the crimes and civil rights violations reported by the Ibarra brothers and gained “special advantage” for his son, Brent Thomas, when the younger man was arrested last year for possession of cocaine.
The sheriff declined to comment Friday, but his attorney said Kelley’s allegations are without merit.
“We believe Lloyd Kelley is simply trying to take over public offices that he and his party could never win in a free election,” said attorney John O’Neill. “The allegation he made about Sheriff Thomas’ son is a cowardly allegation that only a coward would have made.”